Preschool (also known as ‘kindergarten’) is an important step for young children. It is strongly recommended that all children go to preschool. Local preschools offer group sessions for 3 and 4-year old children with programs that encourage children to learn through play while building self-esteem, confidence and relationships with others.
Research has shown that:
- early education helps set children up for a bright future
- attending two years of quality preschool has even greater benefits
- at preschool, children learn skills that they'll take with them throughout their life.
Preschool programs focus on each individual child's interests, strengths and abilities. Qualified early childhood educators plan high-quality, play-based programs to extend children’s learning and development.
Programs are based on the Early Years Learning Framework (EYLF) and the Victorian Early Years Learning and Development Framework (VEYLDF).
Funded preschool programs operate in a range of settings throughout Yarra Ranges, they include:
- Purpose-built stand-alone ‘sessional’ kindergartens.
- Integrated within community based or private long day care - child care centres.
- Independent schools
For more information visit the Department of Education website - Types of kindergarten programs.
Find a preschool near you.
The Department of Education also has Find a Kinder Program.
For more information about preschools, refer to our list of FAQ's below.
The Victorian Government is making it easier for families to find funded and approved preschool programs, just look for the Kinder Tick.
When you see the Kinder Tick, you can be confident:
- the program will be led by a qualified teacher
- children will benefit from play-based learning
- the preschool program is funded and approved by the Victorian Government
- the program complies with government guidelines and the National Quality Framework.
Find out more about Kinder Tick
To be eligible for preschool, a child must turn 3 or 4 before 30 April in the year of preschool attendance.
The below table assists in calculating when a child may be eligible to attend 3 and 4-year-old preschool.
When thinking about preschool and then school it’s important to consider a child based on their personality, development, social competence and maturity; all children develop at different rates.
There is currently a trend for younger children to wait until the following year. For some children waiting an extra year may mean the different between being “okay” at school and “thriving” at school.
For other children, they may be ready for that next step of childhood with support and guidance in this transition . Talk to your Maternal and Child Health nurse or a qualified early years educator to help with your decision.
Date of Birth
eligible to attend
eligible to attend
1/5/2017 - 30/4/2018
1/5/2018 - 30/4/2019
1/5/2019 - 30/4/2020
1/5/2020 - 30/4/2021
1/5/2021 – 30/4/2022
Enrol for preschool
To enrol your child for preschool, contact your preferred service directly. Enrolments are normally taken from 2 years of age.
Yarra Ranges Council does not provide a central registration service, so making early contact with your preferred preschool is greatly encouraged.
To find a list of preschools closest to you, search by location on the Find a Preschool page.
Preschool fees and funding
From 2022, families will be able to access two-years of state government funded preschool. This includes a minimum of:
- five-hour a week preschool program for three-year-old’s, and
- 15-hour a week preschool program for four-year-old’s.
Funded three-year-old kindergarten is new. It's part of the Victorian Government’s kindergarten reform, which is the largest reform of early childhood education in Victoria’s history.
The cost of sending your child to preschool varies between services. For accurate cost information, we recommend contacting your preferred preschool directly for fee details.
For additional information on the costs involved in attending preschool and subsidies available visit - How much kindergarten costs (education.vic.gov.au)
Preschool concessions and benefits
You may be eligible for government rebate or subsidies.
To find out more about fee assistance, contact your preferred preschool directly or visit Kindergarten - DHHS Services (dffh.vic.gov.au) or Families - Services Australia for more information.
Koorie Kids Shine at Kindergarten
Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children can also access up to 15 hours of free kindergarten each week through the program
Koorie Kids Shine Kindergartens work hard to create culturally safe places for Koorie children and families and include Aboriginal perspectives in their learning curriculum.
You are encouraged to talk with your child’s teacher about your own cultures and beliefs, and how these can be incorporated into the activities at kindergarten.
Early Start Kindergarten
Early Start Kindergarten gives eligible children 15 hours of free or low-cost kindergarten a week for two years before starting school. To be eligible, your child must be three by 30 April in the year they start kindergarten, and:
- be from a refugee or asylum seeker background, or
- identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or
- your family has had contact with child protection.
Children can also access free or low cost Four-Year-Old Kindergarten through the Early Start Kindergarten Extension Grant.
Even with funded Three-year-old Kindergarten rolling out from 2022, it is important for all eligible children to be enrolled under the Early Start Kindergarten program. This will mean they will able to access the full 15 hours of funded kindergarten each week throughout the roll-out period.
Watch the video’s below for more information.
Download the fact sheet(PDF, 168KB)
Early Start Kindergarten (education.vic.gov.au)
Support is available for funded preschools to plan and implement a program that is responsive to the individual abilities, interests and needs of children with a disability, developmental delay or complex medical needs.
Kindergarten Inclusion Support program (KIS) is designed to contribute to the delivery of quality preschool programs.
Inclusive programs encourage and allow all children genuine opportunities to access and participate fully in the preschool program.
There are a range of resources available to support preschools to implement an inclusive program.
Preschool Field Officers
Preschool Field Officers (PSFO) provide support to state-funded preschools to assist in improving access and participation for children with additional needs, at no cost to the preschool or the family.
This support includes children who are receiving Early Start Kindergarten and Access to Early Learning funding.
The PSFO’s aim to encourage the inclusion of children with additional needs into state funded 3 and 4-year-old preschool programs.
Support to educators may include:
- provision of information, planning support and resources,
supporting a preschool educator’s identification of a child with additional needs
supporting a preschool educator’s confidence and capacity to respond to a parent’s concerns regarding their child’s development,
coaching and modelling of specific skills, suggestions and strategies with educators to include children into the program,
- identification of referral pathways and facilitation of linkages for families to the range of child and family supports, including more specialised assessment and services where indicated.
Our PSFOs recognise that families are the child’s first teacher, know their child best and can provide important information regarding the child’s development.
PSFOs can support educators to build a trusting and respectful relationship with families that enable educators to plan and provide for the ongoing learning and development of the child in the preschool program.
In order to access this program, the kindergarten must get permission from the family and complete a referral form before connecting with PSFO.
Preschool or families can make a referral to the service using the PSFO referral form.
Inclusion Support Program
The Inclusion Support Program (ISP) aims to build the capacity of education and care services in Victoria to include all children. This program is available in federally funded early childhood education services.
The program is delivered through the Victorian Inclusion Agency, where an Inclusion Professional supports services and educators to embed inclusive practice and overcome barriers to inclusion.
Children attending preschool within a long day care setting may be eligible to access both the Kindergarten Inclusion Support and Inclusion Support programs.